Fear and Mirrors

Sometimes things have to break completely before you can fix them. Life is funny that way. There is a cat that lives on the property, we call her Lucky. I guess she is lucky in a way. She has survived outside on her own for about twelve years, though that is just a guess on my part. I put a bowl of food out for her every night and I lived here for about six months before I ever caught a glimpse of her. Sometimes I wondered if she even existed before I saw her. She is a small, almost white cat with beige and brown markings on her paws, tail and ears. She is tiny, almost delicate like every other female in my man Shawn’s life. She is small but she has a fierce heart. She is a survivor. Every so often I sit with her while she eats and once in a while she lets me pet her and jumps on my lap for a cuddle. Lately, there has been a larger black cat that comes up to the deck to eat the food I set out for Lucky. I call him Spirit. God this black cat is fast! He fights with Lucky over the food and I don’t like that. I think he is a bit of a bully. I say he, even though I don’t know if the cat is male or female. Tonight he ran up the stairs and was across the deck and almost on top of Lucky before I moved and scared him off. I want to protect Lucky but I can’t be by her side all the time. So, I do what I can when I am present, though I am not sure if it helps. I am just the person that fills the silver metal bowl with cat food every night and most mornings before the sun comes up. I have my role to play and I do it with love most times.  Other times, there is more impatience and annoyance than love.

This reminds me that we all have our role to play. Sometimes it is the lead role and other times it is a small cameo. Regardless, the extent of the part we play in the world and others lives is not important, but the role itself big or small is of the utmost importance. It matters to the world and the people we interact with. Remember that. Your part matters. The world would not be the same without you.  The role we play in others lives, in my opinion, is one of the most important things in the world. People and our connections to them shape and change us all.  Lately, my interactions with others have made it quite clear to me that I need to make some changes.  Great more changes!  I had tea and lunch with a friend last week and she pointed out the number of changes that have taken place in my life in the last few years.  I was shocked by the amount even though I have lived, and in some ways thrived, through them.  I left my job, closed my business, wrestled with the illness and loss of the man I loved, sold my house, moved, started a new relationship, moved again and adopted a new circle of friends and family.  There are more changes but those are the most significant ones, and the ones I am willing to share with you.  My new life does not even closely resemble the life I had two years ago.  I sometimes feel as though I am adrift in a huge sea of change and am just waiting to spot land where I can once again feel the solidity of the earth under my feet.

Okay, back to people and fixing things.  I am no longer comfortable with the roles I have previously played.  The life I had disintegrated and while that was extremely difficult it has also given me the opportunity to create a new one and in essence, create a new me.  I have led a very self-centered life up to this point.  I am not proud of this and have been taking a good look at this aspect of my life.  I have also realized that I do like to have time for myself even though I enjoy having lots of people around and finding the balance between the two has been challenging.  In the last month, the universe has kindly provided me with many opportunities that have shone a bright light on my character and pointed out the parts I want to change.  I don’t think I have been a great friend, daughter, sister or partner.  So, I am looking at each of these relationships and the role I play.  If there is a problem with any of these relationships, I need to look at myself first.  The only thing all of these relationships has in common is me.  So sometimes your life needs to fall apart before you can fix it or turn it into something you are proud of.   You need to strip away all the extraneous bullshit of your personality (ego) before you can change it.  Love yourself and love others as unconditionally as you are able to do.  All the things about yourself that you don’t like are magnified in others.  Some say others provide us with a mirror,  I think it is more of a funhouse mirror at the fair that distorts and twists things so they don’t really show what is in front of them as they really are.  The ego is a tricky little thing!  The universe is tricky too and will present you with the same thing over and over in different ways until you are able to see it clearly.

I have come up with many reasons in the last six months that I am unable to write.  I don’t have time, I don’t have a space of my own that inspires me to write,  I have nothing to say, I cannot write about the people in my life because they are entitled to their privacy, and the list of excuses goes on and on.  The reality of it all is that I am afraid.  Afraid I will be judged, afraid that I will fail, afraid that I will succeed and afraid that people will see what lies beneath this facade that I try so hard to protect.  I am taking a big leap next week.  I am attending a writers conference in Orlando with my older sister Margaret.  One part of me is looking forward to the conference and another part of me is afraid. I have mentioned before that I have anxiety attacks.  One of the tricks I have learned in dealing with these anxiety attacks over the years is I ask myself what is the worst thing that can happen.  I spend a few minutes visualizing these worst-case scenarios then visualize ways to deal with them.  Things are never as bad as I imagine they could be, they are usually more wonderful than I ever thought possible.

So, next week will be my 55th birthday and I am off on an adventure with my sister and have no idea how things will turn out.  I am looking forward to spending some time alone with Margaret and sharing this experience with her.  One thing is for sure, there will be lots of laughter and a few glasses of wine in store for us.

 

Hug everyone
Look into the fun-house mirror without fear
xoxoxo
Donna

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Two Years Later

I can’t sleep tonight and the need to write is strong. I have a feeling that this might be my last blog post on a Life in a Slightly Soiled Chair. There is a new blog taking shape in my heart and in my mind, but I am unable to describe it for you at the moment. This new chapter in my life and my writing is still taking shape and in all honesty, I don’t think I will know what it is until I start to write it. It has been exactly two years since Howard passed away and my world crumbled and I think this last post needs to be a letter to him but I have decided to share it with you. For some reason I think that if I put this out there, it will travel to all the corners of the universe and Howard will read it somewhere, somehow.

Hi Howard, it has been two years since you left this earth and sometimes it feels like yesterday and at other times it seems like centuries. I still miss you and think I always will. You know that I don’t remember dates for anything, all that well, but I think that my heart and body remember on a cellular level the moment that you left. I am not the same person, your life changed me and your death changed me again. I would not alter one moment of our life together, but I would trade everything to change the end of it for you. Oh yeah, I would like a redo on the day our house was raided and we were arrested, yup, I would change that. That was a crazy day and I am still convinced that they had the wrong house regardless of what the paperwork said. All they had to do was look at the dead plants on the deck to realize that I couldn’t grow a potted plant let alone a pot plant. We had the last laugh on that one, didn’t we!

I did plant a garden from seeds this year, but you already know that. This garden turned out much better than the year I decided to plant one in our backyard. Even the raven sitting on the pagoda laughed at my attempt to garden. I remember that you came out of the shop and asked, “Did that raven just laugh at you?” I managed to keep most of this one alive, with some help, and have had some wonderful meals with the vegetables from it. You remember how much I love bok choy? Well, apparently the deer love it more because I did not get to eat any of it. I did have an abundance of radishes. Deer do not eat radishes. Who knew? I tried to feed some to the cow Oatsie, but she didn’t want them either. Note to self, do not plant that many radishes ever again.

Yesterday I was in a friends store and saw some spirit bells. I was fascinated with these bells and took one home with me. I just could not keep this bell out of my hands and jiggled it around the whole time I was in the store. After I got home I remembered that in the last few weeks of your life you said you would ring bells. I gave you a bell beside your bed when you couldn’t get up by yourself so if you needed me I would hear it. Did you know that I slept with that bell beside my bed for months after you passed away waiting for you to ring it? I had a dream last night that I woke up and it was the exact moment that you passed away. All those emotions rose up in me like a huge wave threatening to drown me and you in spirit form kissed my head and told me it was okay. You also said a few other things and I went back to sleep feeling peaceful and loved.

I miss talking to you and sometimes have conversations with you in my head. I would talk to you out loud, but people already think I’m a little odd. Once in a while, I feel your presence and an image of you pops into my head. You always have a huge smile on your face and that light in your eyes that you always had when you were up to something. I loved that face. I keep thinking about your hands for some reason. They were large sturdy hands that were always covered in cuts and scrapes. Your hands were always busy sculpting, fixing, welding, weeding, cooking or petting a dog. Those large calloused hands were also gentle and I don’t think I ever felt safe in my life until you held my face in your hands and kissed me. I don’t think I ever felt safe or loved in my life until I met you.

There are so many things I want to tell you. I also believe that you already know everything that is in my heart. There is a space in my heart that will never be filled. One thing you did teach me is that our hearts are big and I can keep that space for you and still have enough room for other people. I took a risk last year and have someone new in my life. He too is teaching me much about love and life. He challenges me sometimes, makes me laugh constantly and encourages me to try new things and grow. We have a great group of friends and get together regularly at the pub or in our kitchen, which is filled with food, love and laughter. We both believe that you set the stage for us to get together when you sold him my raven sculpture. I remember how excited you were with the trade the two of you made. He also has a big heart and since the two of you were friends there is a place in his heart for you as well. We have the first sculpture you made called Victorious ( I affectionately call her Booba) and the last one you finished, the rhino, in our yard. The raven you sold him sits on top of the gatepost at the end of the driveway and when I moved in we put the second raven that you made for me on the other gatepost. I always think of them and you watching over us and protecting us. We also have the gorilla sculpture peering out of the bamboo. That was my favorite of all your sculptures even though I teased you about becoming a gorilla while you were creating it.

I want you to know that I am happy in my new life. Shawn and I are having many adventures together and in some way take a part of you with us on each of them. We took your toolbox with us when we went to Bonneville this year and God knows we could have used your mechanical skills while we were there. The racing did not go as well as expected. It was still an amazing trip though because of the people we met and old friends we got to see again. That is the most important thing anyway, the people in our lives. I am so glad that I got to be part of your life and hope I brought some joy and laughter to yours. I do know that some of my crazy antics brought some comic relief and I can still see you looking at me and shaking your head with that what am I going to do with her expression on your face. We had a few hard times and we had many more great times. Howard, you were an amazing man and the thing that amazed me the most was that you loved me. You loved me so much that I can still feel it.

Love the people in your life
Hug each other and laugh over the stupid stuff
Donna

Grief Part 682

I will start this post by saying that I am no expert when it comes to grief. I have danced with grief a number of times from a young age to today, at 54 years of age. I say dance with it because grief has a rhythm to it that moves you. I have experienced the death of two grandparents, a number of friends, my baby girl, both my parents, my older brother and finally the man I loved and lived with for twelve years. Each experience was different and each person’s death brought about a change within me. Howard’s passing happened Sept 15th, 2015 and I have to say that his presence in my life and his exit from it has changed me in ways no other experience has. Howard’s life and death had a profound effect on me and in some ways I am still discovering what those are. I will tell you that the grief never ends but it changes over time and becomes more of a slow heart warming waltz instead of a heart racing paso doble that spins you around and shakes your world. Grief changes you and grief changes.

I am one of those people who cries when I am happy and laughs when I am sad. This is not to say that I do not cry when I am sad. Howard’s death brought me to my knees, but I did not cry, I wailed a deep soul shattering sob that robbed me of breath and thought. I would cry myself to sleep at night and when I woke up in the morning for just a moment I would forget that he was gone and then the sobbing would begin as reality came into focus again. I cried at the grocery store, I sobbed in my car and had to leave a few places, (the bank for one) when my emotions overtook me. I wouldn’t change a minute of the grief. It was heartbreaking but it was also heart opening. I do not see the world in the same way, my vision is clearer because I see with my heart, not my eyes. So a year and a half later something will catch me by surprise and the loss of him will overwhelm me. I was visiting the hair salon that I frequent a few weeks ago and a song came on the radio there that had special meaning to me and Howard and the tears started flowing. This is a song by Shawn Mendes called “Never Be Alone” and here are some of the lyrics:

I promise that one day I’ll be around
I’ll keep you safe
I’ll keep you sound
Right now it’s pretty crazy
And I don’t know how to stop
Or slow it down
Hey
I know there are some things we need to talk about
And I can’t stay
Just let me hold you for a little longer now
Take a piece of my heart
And make it all your own
So when we are apart
You’ll never be alone
You’ll never be alone
You’ll never be alone
When you miss me close your eyes
I may be far but never gone
When you fall asleep tonight
Just remember that we lay under the same stars
And hey
I know there are some things we need to talk about
And I can’t stay
Just let me hold you for a little longer now

Howard passed this song on to me through a friend who is a medium. This happened while he was still alive but could not talk much. He did manage to say a lot to my friend in spirit while he was still alive even though they did not really know each other well. He chose his words sparingly at this point and did not waste his energy. Well, I played the song as Howard lay in his bed in our living room, while a few friends were visiting, Howard had his eyes closed with a big smile on his face and his toes were dancing to the music while the rest of us had tears streaming down our faces. After Howard was gone every time I started my car (for a few weeks) this song would be on the radio, it was heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. It made me cry and reminded me that I am never alone.

So, here I am early in the morning finishing a post that I started over 4 months ago. I want you to know that I still miss him and think about him every day. I also want you to know that some days I still struggle to find my place in this new life I have created. Sometimes I still struggle. Howard’s artwork graces the yard and walls of the new home I share with Shawn the new amazing man in my life. He has brought much joy and laughter to my life. He loves me, he challenges me and encourages me to dream and grow. But, grief is a funny thing and I don’t think it ever goes away or is something you can overcome. I believe that it is always there, always a part of you. Grief changes you and grief changes you again, but your dance with it also changes the grief.
Now, it is not so much about the loss of Howard in my life, but the end of the life that Howard had cut short when he was just beginning to blossom as an artist and had found something he was so passionate about.

I believe that I have a difficult time finishing this post simply because there is no end to this story. Nor can I sum it all up and leave you with a something to think about. This is just a snapshot of day 682 of grief.

Be kind
Love ya
Donna

Shaped by the Past, Sculpted by Dreams

I have been awake at 4:44 am for the last three mornings. I am not sure why, and this morning I was having a dream about Alfred Hitchcock which will make my friend Debra laugh. So, I decided to sit and write while the coffee is brewing and see what comes up. I think about things a lot, my mind never seems to stop unless I sit and meditate and lately even that is difficult. I have this unsettled feeling swirling around inside me and I cannot explain it. It is almost as if I am waiting for something to happen and feel like my life has been in a holding pattern for a long time. Weird huh? I you have any insight into this please let me know.

One thing that has been on my mind lately is my childhood. Most likely because my sister is writing a book and we have been discussing some of these things lately. My sister and I are 13 years apart in age (she is older) and had completely different lives growing up. Her father was an angry abusive man and mine was the gentlest of souls who rarely got angry. Our mother met my father after her first husband was killed in an accident. It amazes me that four children in the same family can be so different and have such varied responses to life events and their memories of them. It makes me wonder how reliable my memory of events actually is.

Growing up in a family filled with alcoholism and all the dysfunction that comes with it teaches you some things. It teaches you to not take responsibility for your own actions. Someone else is the cause of your anger, your need to drink, your inability to get ahead in life etc. etc. It teaches you to keep secrets. God forbid if anyone every found out what really goes on in your home or your head. They would turn away from you in disgust, wouldn’t they? One of the biggest things it teaches you is fear and mistrust. When you cannot trust your own family how could you trust others? When you live in a constant state of fear it takes a toll on you physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. You are always living in anticipation of the next drunken tirade that is filled with discord and abuse, in some cases physical and in some cases emotional and in a lot of cases both. Not pretty is it? I remember phoning home everyday from school to ask my mother if she needed anything from the store just so I could check her tone of voice to see if she was drinking. If she was sober I would go home, if she was drinking I would go somewhere else. This is the only world I knew and alcohol was destined to play a large role in the rest of my life. I was enrolled in Life Skills 101 with an alcohol fueled instructors. I was taught to think and navigate life like an alcoholic. All I wanted was to be loved and spent many years looking for that in all the wrong places. I didn’t understand that I needed to love myself before I could offer it to or receive it from another person.

In my thirties I found myself drinking a lot and married to someone who drank enough that his work forced him into a rehab program. The alcohol saga continued, but it was a familiar one and I knew it well. Funny thing though, I ended up walking through the doors of AA in 1992 and my life was changed forever. It was in those church basement meetings that I was taught the healthy life skills that I was not taught growing up. It did not happen over night because my conditioning was firmly entrenched and they were asking me to feel my emotions and take responsibility for myself, both of which I had no idea how to do. I discovered that I only had two emotions, or states of being, angry or not angry. I sometimes still revert to anger in extremely stressful situations. However, anger is not all bad and boy oh boy can I get some housework done when I am trying to get rid of some anger in a healthy way. I have made a lot of discoveries about anger since then and that emotion is rarely caused by someone else or their actions.

It has been over 20 years since I started this journey of healing. I have learned a few things that have improved my life and me as a person. I still have much to learn, but look forward to it. It is impossible to know yourself with out understanding what made you who you are. One thing is for sure, you always have choices regardless of your life circumstance. Sometimes you may feel like you don’t have any choices but you do. You choose whether you are hardened or softened by your experiences. You can also make new choices every day. You and you alone are responsible for the person you are today. Your life experiences began to mold you, but you are like an artist finishing the beautiful sculpture that is you.

I guess I have rambled a bit, though that is not unusual for me. I understand my mother and what caused her to be who she was. I also want you to know that every time I think about her with love and forgiveness her spirit becomes lighter and brighter. The people who were in our lives and have passed on are aware of our feelings and the repercussions of their actions when they walked this earth. We get to choose whether we will hang on to the anger, bitterness, or whatever else we are feeling. There is freedom in fully accepting responsibility for who you are. You can let the past shape your future if you want. Sculpt yourself, paint yourself, sing yourself or write yourself a new future based on who you want to be, not what has happened to you.

Treat others with kindness and compassion
Hug yourself for me

Donna

A Year of Grace

Apparently it can take more than one year to figure out who you are after your life is torn apart!  I didn’t realize how much of my identity was derived from my business and my relationship.  Once those things were gone, there I was standing naked, feeling exposed and alone, wondering what the hell I was going to do.  I have moved on with my life in a number of ways and most of the time it was trial and error and the best things were happy accidents.  This is the first time in my life I am not working, since the age of 15, and I also didn’t realize how much my self worth was tied into my job and being productive.  It has been one hell of a year with lots of ups and downs but the ups are winning.

I have done things in the last year I never thought I would do.  I tried online dating without much success.  How the heck do you write a profile?  The best and most honest one I could come up with went something like this:  I don’t dye my hair, I don’t wear make up, I own 6 pairs of black boots and I have all my own teeth.  There were few who were intrigued by this!  I finally gave up on the dating thing and asked someone I knew a bit if they were interested in being my friend with benefits, even though I wasn’t really sure what that meant.  Well, this friend with benefits thing turned into much more than I was expecting.  He helped me find the joy in life again and continuously makes me laugh.  He is a very private person so he may not like me writing about this.  Oops, too late.  I guess I just want you all to know that when you least expect it, someone or something is going to come along and help you find the joy in life again.  I also started this blog in the last year after a spiritual awakening of sorts and gained so much from not only the writing of it but hearing what other people had to say about it.  Some comments were surprising and made me see that I was constantly downplaying who I was and what I contributed to the world just by being myself.

Each of us has something to contribute.  You don’t have to move mountains or earn six figures to have value to this world. Sometimes a kind word or a smile can change the course of someones day or life for that matter.  I recently ran into my former husband who I have not been married to since 1998.  I was a little uncomfortable at first but we had a few chats and it was like having coffee with an old friend.  I also had lunch with his parents a few days ago while they were in town and it was a joy to see them again.  I forgot how much I adored them and realized that when we got divorced I essentially divorced a lot of people in my life.  The pain of that period of my life is long dealt with and gone, there is nothing left but love for all of them.  One thing my former husband said in a text message really made me stop and think.  He said, “Maybe you just bring out the best in everyone.”  Perhaps I do, though my first thought upon reading those words was I am not that special.

If you have the ability to approach people and love them unconditionally that is special. If you can let them be them without judgement that is a wonderful gift, not only to them but yourself.  Don’t try to change people, love them for who they are and just by doing that you give them the space they need to grow and change because they want to, not because you think they should.  Don’t restrict other people or your love for them because of your own definition of right or wrong, good or bad.  Open your heart and the world opens its heart right back.  Besides, do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?  I love being wrong.

So, I would some up the last year as a year of grace.  There is a gracefulness to awkwardly finding your way.  There is grace in the tears of grief as well as tears of joy.  I am one of those people who cry when I am happy!  There is grace in this world, it is all around you and you can see it if you look for it.  You know what they say, you get what you expect.  So expect grace, expect kindness, expect love, just expect great and wonderful things to happen all around you.

 

Be kind to yourself.
Hug everyone like you mean it!

Donna
aka Miss Daisy

Love and Shit

Yesterday was the first day of summer and I am back home on Vancouver Island. The sun was shining and my guy picked me up at the airport on Sunday with a huge smile on his face and big hug that lifted me off my feet. No one has ever picked me up at the airport with so much joy and it made me melt a little, it made me feel loved. Today, Tuesday, finds me awake at 4:30am suffering from a bit of jet lag as my internal clock tries to sort out the time change. So, I sit here on a comfortable sofa wrapped in a purple blanket waiting for the coffee to perk in the French press and feeling the need to write. You would think that someone who writes so much would have a way with words when talking to people, this is not the case for me. I stumble as I try to speak from my heart and I can be as awkward as a newborn colt when it comes to expressing my feelings. I worry about things and I worry a lot. Sarcasm and joking around are easy for me, serious discussions not so much. I don’t like being vulnerable.
One of the reasons I don’t like letting people know how important they or something else is to me stems from how people have used those things against me in the past. I have also come to the conclusion that I cannot let the past, regardless of how it turned out, write my future. You cannot approach life or people the same way time and time again expecting different results. I realize that everything I say on this blog has been said by countless others. The truth of these statements, as old and worn as they are, has withstood the test of time and then sometimes regardless of the truth of things, the heart of things, shit happens. Shit you were not expecting. I also want to point out that shit helps things grow. So it doesn’t matter whether your glass is half full or half empty the truth is, it is still half a glass. Your viewpoint of the truth is the important thing.

I know that I can ramble on sometimes, but this is the way my mind works. One thought leads to another and the point comes out at the end, if there is a point. I don’t know what the point of this blog is. I know it has helped me tremendously in dealing with my grief and growth. I hope it has made a small difference for someone else even if it is only that they realize that someone has had the same thoughts or fears and they don’t feel so alone in this vast world of disconnectedness. We have vast amount of information at our fingertips but we are all lost in that sea of data looking at a small screen and not noticing the people or events taking place right in front of us. We excel at being disconnected when the only important thing is our connections with others. But, in order to connect you have to open up, let people in and work through the difficulties together.

When I started this relationship with the wonderful man who picked me up at the airport, I wanted someone to do things with. I was essentially looking for a friend with benefits. I did not think any further than that. I have written blog posts about what I want in a relationship and this man is quite aware of my aversion to marriage or living with someone and all the other things that I have written about. He has read my blog and he has listened to me when we have a conversation. He and I are similar in some respects. We both have a weakness for antiques and rusty old cars, sushi, reading, music, coffee chocolate etc etc. We are also very different in the way we view the world and move through it and there is nothing wrong with that. We have much to learn from each other and are inadvertently helping each other refine our perspective and grow. What I was not expecting was this relationship becoming so much more than I had originally intended. I am not going to throw the love word out there simply because I think it is misused and misunderstood. That word holds great meaning for me and I do not use it lightly. Anyone can say the word, few actually mean it in its purest sense.  This man has helped me fall in love with life again and I cannot imagine my world without him in it. I am grateful that he is part of my life and hope he feels the same way.

One of the professors in an English lit class ,yes this was years ago but I have never forgotten it, asked us who had the most to lose in a relationship. I could not come up with an answer. His answer was the person who loves the most. I disagreed with that then and I still disagree with it now. How can you love too much unless the meaning of the word is twisted and warped in your heart. To me the word love is about acceptance, truth, it has a softness and warmth to it. Just looked the word up on line and in my opinion none of the definitions come close to explaining love. Some describe it as a feeling of deep affection, a strong attraction to another person that may include a sexual attraction. I think they, in their definition, have only scratched the surface and in trying to define it have reduced it and taken something away. For me love is never grasping or confining it is about letting go. Letting go of your expectations, letting go of the need to be right and letting go of the person if that is what is needed. When you let go love has some room to enter your heart. When you let go there is space for another person in your heart. So let go, open your heart and watch the magic happen.
Hope you all have a wonder filled day

Plant some flowers for the bees, they need our help and 

our very lives depend on them

Donna

Know Who You Are

I have witnessed three beautiful sunrises this week from the east coast of Canada. I am in Halifax, where I was born and spent the first 23 years of my life. The city has changed so much I barely recognize it. I have lived on the west coast for more than 24 years so I have officially spent more time there. I still refer to Halifax as home. For us east coasters our roots run deep. If we meet people anywhere in the world and they are also from the east coast there is an instant bond, a shared understanding of a culture and way of being in the world. I love the accent that rolls off tongues in that sing song drawl and can recognize it wherever I am. The accent will vary depending on whether you are from a big city, or one of the smaller towns which each seem to put their own twist on a way of speaking. For now, I just want to sit and listen to the people speak. I find comfort in those familiar patterns of speech from my childhood.
I woke up at 4:30 am this morning listening to the birds sing the beginning of the day into existence and even they sing a song that is different now. I lay in my borrowed bed comparing them to the bird songs of the west, unable to identify any but the crows. I am hoping to see a blue jay while I am here, they hold a special significance for me and they don’t exist on Vancouver island. We have jays on the island but the Stellar Jays of the west are slightly different. The eastern jays are brighter in colour and slightly smaller, though their screech is very similar. This trip has me comparing many things between the east of my childhood and the west of my adulthood.
I did think about moving east after Howard left this earth. I spent hours looking through the real estate listings and dreaming about a waterfront home along the Atlantic. My heart is in the west now though, with the people who have come to mean so much to me. I call them my soul family. I fit there amongst the cedars, bald eagles, mild weather and the laid back lifestyle of small town Sooke. I belong there now. Perhaps I had to leave there to know that. I wish I had the ability to be in two places at the same time. I just started laughing cause the word bicoastal ran through my mind. I am bicoastal!
When I arrived at my sisters home and unpacked my suitcase I found a note from the special man in my life. This man was kind enough to wake up at 3:30 am to drive me to the airport, I think he likes me. This small note brought tears to my eyes and melted my heart. His presence in my life has helped me to wake up parts of myself that have been dormant for a very long time. I thank the universe for him every day and appreciate the fact that he has the strength to walk beside me and encourages me to grow, heal, and live my dreams. His note was a little reminder of all that is waiting for me when I return. This was a trip of necessity, I needed to revisit the past and make peace with it to move forward with clarity and purpose. I needed to remember who I am. So, today I am going to visit with some of my cousins. I am looking forward to reconnecting with them and getting to know them again. They too will help me remember who I am.  
So while I was away living my life on the west coast the east coast has changed. I guess time stood still in my mind and I expected things to be the same. We change and grow and places change and grow. I am not the same person that left Nova Scotia many years ago. This trip has confirmed one thing for me, while the east will always be part of me I belong among the cedars of the west.  I have also learned that you need to know and understand the past to move in a different way into the future. Learn from the past but don’t dwell there or live from there, learn from it . Know who you are. Live your life with no regrets, just live!
Love to all

Donna

No Strings

I am sitting once again in my slightly soiled chair with a coffee beside me in my sunny yellow mug. It is five thirty in the morning and the birds are singing the sun up with cheerful little songs. It has all the makings of a wonderful day even though I have only had about four hours sleep. I had trouble settling down last night. There were a few things weighing on my mind and my heart. I have started making plans and dreaming and low and behold the universe throws a few curve balls at me just to see if I am paying attention and waits to see how I will handle it.

Have you ever had one of those moments where certain events in your life become clear in their meaning. I had one of those moments last night and I have to admit that it scared me a little. Actually my response was “well shit.” It reminded me that certain things are beyond my control. I can say I want this, I don’t want that till the cows come home and the universe in its wisdom will give me what I need. I never expected to fall in love with my life again, I never expected to feel or experience so much joy and peace again. Some of the best moments of my life have happened when I was not expecting it.

So I had a moment of clarity and it scared me. I am not sure scared is the right word. Perhaps it is more being unsure with a tiny bit of fear thrown in. I don’t know where this path will lead but I trust in the universe to guide me along and in the meantime will set the fear aside. No one knows what tomorrow will bring but I have had a few visions of the future and they do not coincide with what I thought I wanted. Perhaps there is a lesson in that. Do not be so tied to what you want and don’t want that you miss the wonderful people and opportunities right in front of you. Be flexible with your how your mind and heart respond to the events and people in your life. Be teachable.

I have ideas about how I would like things to be and have expressed a large number of those ideas on this blog. One thing that I do know for certain is that as long as I let my heart rule over my mind life is as it should be. The minute I start over thinking things and second guessing every decision, fears settles in and my mind gains control. Fear versus love the eternal struggle for control. So the universe is putting people and situations in my path to see if I can actually live what I say. Anyone can say anything, but can they back it up with action. The universe is saying enough talk Donna lets see some action.

So, I have said numerous times that it is all about living with your heart wide open. But what does that really mean to me? It is about others not about me. For one of the first times in my life, I have led a very self-centered life up to this point, the happiness of others comes before my own. I want the people around me to know what it means to be loved for just being them, no strings attached. I want to bring peace and joy with me everywhere I go and spread that around. I want the people in my life to know that they are appreciated and that I truly see them for who they are and that they are more than enough. I thought I knew what love was. The universe has shown me lately that I have only danced around the edges of it in the past. Well shit!

Have a bliss filled day
Hug people
Donna

Kitchens of Love and Laughter

Woke up this morning at 5:30 to a wet world that smells so fresh.  It rained during the night and the birds were singing enthusiastically this morning in celebration.  We have not had much rain this spring and us locals usually call our home the Wet Coast.  I love the sunny weather we are having, but (I can’t believe I am saying this) I miss the rain. It gives me an excuse to stay home and curl up with a good book and a glass of tea.

Cooked supper for friends last night and I realized how much I missed a kitchen full of people laughing, talking and eating together.  I have lived my life in self imposed isolation for so long that I forgot what it was like to be surrounded by people.  I am looking forward to buying a new home and cooking for friends.  I love to cook and try new recipes.  Well, I read recipes for inspiration then do my own thing.  I have never been great at following directions!  Some of my best memories involve being in someone’s kitchen with a group of friends.  I spent a lot of time in other people’s kitchens while growing up, playing cards, making music,eating, drinking and laughing.  So I spent the night at a friend’s house and am writing this morning at their kitchen island.  There is much food and laughter shared around this island.  I also have come to realize that this kitchen and the people in it have become a huge part of my life and my healing.  The kitchens of my past were filled with love and laughter and I know the kitchens of my future will be as well.

I am going to pay more attention to kitchens.  I think they truly are the heart of the home. Pay attention to what goes on in your own kitchen as this could be a barometer for the atmosphere of your home.  I like a tidy kitchen, it doesn’t have to be spotless but tidy and organized without a doubt.  I cannot cook in a messy kitchen.  I do have to admit that I have wanted to organize the kitchen for a few people and have even done it once.  I don’t really care if your kitchen is messy, it is your kitchen.  I do not judge you based on the condition of your kitchen.  It is your heart that captures me.  I watch how you treat other people, your family, and see how willing you are to laugh at yourself and the life stuff that is tossed your way.  If you have heart I don’t care how tidy your house is.

Just got a text message with a tarot card for the day from the Osho Zen tarot deck.  Oddly enough, the card was isolation but they spell it ice-olation.  My self imposed isolation was in a sense like being encased in a block of ice and my friends both old and new are contributing to my melting and merging back into a warm and caring community.  They are helping me find myself again. This is a family, the people who feed my body and soul.  Family is so much more than just blood relatives. Family is also the people you choose to spend time with that nurture your spirit and encourage you to be the best you possible.  I hope that in some small way I do the same for them, they mean the world to me.

So, as I sit here beside a fish named George pondering the significance of kitchens and families, I am filled with warm memories and heated hopes and desires.  There is fire in my soul once again and while I do not know what the future holds for me I am full of excited anticipation like a small child on Christmas morning.  Everyday brings more light and clarity of heart.  You have given me the space to heal and for that I thank you and give you the biggest and warmest hug.  Thank you for allowing me to find myself again.  If you ever get to Vancouver Island send a message, perhaps we can get together in the kitchen of my new home and fill it with food, companionship and wild hearted laughter.  I am looking forward to it.  Peace and love to all of you.

Hug trees and please don’t kill spiders

Donna

 

 

The Heart Knows

I woke up yesterday morning with a new energy and renewed spirit. This was a much welcomed change. I haven’t been feeling down the last few weeks, it was more of a flat feeling if that makes any sense. So, I have been pondering this change in my energy and trying to uncover what it is. What is at the root of it. I would have to say that it stems from my heart. What is really interesting is that it spreads out and touches the people I come in contact with. You know that saying smile and the whole world smiles with you? Well, it is true. If you live from your heart people cannot help but respond to you from theirs. It is contagious in a good way. Sure there are still some people who do not seem to have a heart to respond with but it is in there. It may be hardened and dried up a little but love them anyway. One thing I have a gift for is cracking the tough shell of cranky old men and old women for that matter. I love the cranky ones and always have. When I worked in a nursing home my coworkers would ask me why a certain patient was so nice to me and so mean to everyone else. I told them it was because I loved them and they knew it! On some level people can see through the bullshit and know who has a heart and isn’t afraid to use it.
I just had a flashback to a vision I had about my life when I was a child. I will just say that my relationship with my Mom was not an easy one, she was hard to love. The universe gave me the opportunity to look at all the interactions I had with my Mom and how different things could have been for her if I had responded to her with love instead of through my fears. I was also shown how different things would have been for me. Until you learn the lesson the universe keeps putting the same issues in front of you until you deal with it. The people may change and the situation my change but it is the same issue over and over. Since I chose to respond to people from my heart instead of my head, that dark space where the fear lurks, life has changed dramatically. Do I still have fears? Oh yeah baby I still have fears, I am merely human. But I have chosen to respond with love despite my fears and insecurities.
When we tell ourselves things like, I always have trouble expressing myself or I will never get along with my brother, we are reinforcing that idea. Someone told me to change the way I said things and I would start to notice changes. What I did was put the words in the past in front of these statements. In the past I never got along with my brother. This leaves the future open to a different outcome. So regardless of what you have struggled with in the past that is where it belongs, do not let your past experiences dictate the future. That small change in the way I spoke had a huge impact. I now try to choose my words more carefully. The answer to all of our troubles is always inside us. Someone I know was talking about his disastrous relationships. Two failed marriages were weighing on his heart and mind. I kindly pointed out that the only thing all of his relationships had in common was him. Then we both burst out laughing! When I realized that I had the solutions to any problem inside my own heart and accepted ownership of the issue and the solution my entire perspective changed. I make it sound easy, but it was not. It took a lot of work both internal and external. Fortunately the universe kept testing my new found skills and helped me hone them. Do I love everyone? No I do not, I treat them with kindness and compassion but I do not give them much time or waste my energy on them. I do say a little prayer for them though.
I have someone in my life who I really enjoy spending time with. I am out of my comfort zone sometimes with this person, but I do not let that stop me from getting to know them or interacting with them heart wide open. The world is a better place because they are in it and they make my soul want to dance. I enjoy them for who they are at this moment and all their little quirks and idiosyncrasies. I have fears, but will be damned if I am going to let them dictate this relationship or any other one. My past is not going to colour the future. I have wiped the slate clean and the future is only full of possibilities. Perhaps it is easy for me to do this because the life I had ended abruptly. I am not sure. All I know is that I take each day as it comes and try to deal with any issues as they come up. I have the answers inside my heart. What do you want out of a relationship? Do you want acceptance? Then give that to the other person. Whatever it is that you want, that is what you have to give. Simple isn’t it? 
I stopped for a minute to refill my coffee and had a vision of my heart. When you think of someone’s heart the colour red comes to mind for most of us. Well, I will tell you a secret, the colour of my heart is blue. It is a calm peaceful blue like a clean clear ocean warmed by the summer sun. It is liquid like the ocean too, the colours change in depth and swirl and shift and swell. Can you see it? Can you feel it? Well, my warm blue heart wishes you a love filled day and please don’t let fear stop you from having the life and relationships you want to have. Get out there and open your heart to the world. I promise you will not regret it!

Much love to all

Donna